“ T H E S H E P H E R D S ”
Luke 2 : 1 – 20
- (Info source… International Standard Bible Encyclopedia) The sheep owner frequently tends the flock himself (Gen.4:4; 30:40), but more often he delegates the work to his children (Gen. 29:9)or relatives (Gen. 31:6). In such cases the sheep have good care because the keepers have a personal interest in the well being of the animals, but when they are attended by a hireling, (I Sam. 17:20) the flocks may be neglected or abused. (Isa. 56:10,11) Goats hunt out the best feeding grounds, but sheep are more helpless and have to be led to their food, nor do they possess the instinct of many other animals for finding their way home (Ezek. 34:6-8). The usual time for watering is at noon, at which time the flocks are led to their watering places, which usually are hours away. After drinking, the animals lie down or huddle together in the shade of a rock while the shepherd sleeps. At the first sound of his call, which is usually a peculiar guttural sound, hard to imitate, the flock follow off to new feeding grounds. Even should two shepherds call their flocks at the same time and the sheep be intermingled, they never mistake their own master’s voice (John 10:3-5). A shepherd during the biblical era would carry a staff (to rest his arms, lean on , or fight with), a slingshot (made of goat’s hair to protect the sheep, and to hunt his own personal food), and sometimes a water pail (if the herd was to be far from watering hole), and a skin pouch (to carry his belongings in).
I. The Shepherds of the Christ child
A) Abide in their fields
- Look now as we read in Luke 2:1) And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2) (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4) And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6) And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7) And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 8) And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field,
- These shepherds were “abiding” in their fields. Abiding means…residing, staying where they are supposed to.
- They are not busybodies wandering about the goings on of some other shepherd and his flock!
- But notice here, who’s flock they are keeping watch over… keeping watch over their flock by night.
B) Still Afraid
- 9) And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
- These Shepherds were not sleeping in their beds, but wide awake. The reason that God sent his angel to them while they were wide awake was to insure that they were not deceived in what they saw and heard.
- The glory of the Lord is all around them and they are afraid. Many shepherds today have the glory of the Lord round about them and they are still afraid.
What are they afraid of? (The shepherds in the story here)
- They were afraid of God!
- They were afraid because one (The Angel) being came upon them(more than one) and caught them off guard during their watch over the flock with a voice that was tender but yet it spoke with authority.
- They were not just afraid but “sore afraid” ”sore” means… intensely; severely; mightily; powerfully; deeply; persistently.
C) Peace Comes to All
- 10) And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
- These shepherds were given a message that was for all people of all ages of all time past, present and future.
- This was a news flash that they had been long awaiting just as we today are long awaiting his return. (The difference being that in Christ’s return there will be no warning.)
- 11) For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12) And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
D. God’s Choir is Heard
- Let’s read now in verse 13) And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14) Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. I can just imagine this… The angel just finishes his sentence “…lying in a manger.” When all of a sudden not just a hundred or two but thousands of “heavenly hosts” with voices that are literately “out of this world” singing (without musical instruments of any kind, for instruments are man made.). If a musical instrument was heard with the choir of God I believe it would be that of a trumpet much like the one that will sound at his second coming.
- We cannot even think to compare what the voices must have sounded like.
- Note here in the next verse how long it takes for a response from the shepherds… 15) And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. Page Two
- “Let us go now” My friend I believe they didn’t even take time to pack their duds, a lunch or knapsack. It says in verse 16) And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
E) Spreading the news
- Now look at these shepherds in verse 17) And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
What did they tell everybody?
- An angel came to us while we were tending the flock.
- Then he told us that today a savior is born in the city of David.
- Then he told us his name and what he’d be dressed in and where to find him
- Then he is joined by this outstanding choir praising his name.
F) Glorifying the Lord Continually
- The next thing we see the shepherds doing is returning back to the job site…18) And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19) But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 20) And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
- You talk about an adrenalin rush…I believe that these men were sharing with one another in detail their experience, trying to sing the songs that were sang to them, but notice most important of all that they gave God all the honor and glory for what they have just seen. I also believe they were thanking him for letting such a lowly person as themselves be able to see the King of all kings.
- Notice the last part of the verse 20 … “…as it was told unto them”. This says to me that there was now stretching of the truth, no lies, and no enhancement of their story whatsoever.
“A Shepherd” is not always considered to be one that tends sheep. Here are some different types of shepherds to think about.
II. The Shepherds of our Country
- Moses was a Shepherd (Leader) Moses is usually described as … The great Hebrew national hero, leader, author, lawgiver, deliverer, and prophet. Added to that list I believe that he could also have been called a shepherd. All the attributes of a shepherd listed in our introduction could be applied to Moses and his care of the Israelites.
- General George Patton or Dwight D. Eisenhower.
These men may also be considered as a shepherd of the military over their soldiers.
- From Presidents George Washington to George Bush
These men could also be called a “shepherd of our country”
- Principals and Teachers in our schools
These people, we as parents entrust them with our children to watch, teach, and protect them from harm while they are learning.
III. The Shepherds of our Churches
God said in Jeremiah 3:15… “I will give you pastors according to mine heart”
A) The Gender of a Shepherd
- Matthew 20:25) But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26) But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27) And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 28) Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
- The gender of a shepherd is 99% of the time a male. It was God’s intensions… 1) For man to have dominion over… “all the earth” Note Genesis 1:26) And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27) So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28) And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
- Excuse me here … when God said everything here that means EVERYTHING!
- I believe that means sheep as in animals and sheep as in members of the church.
- There is a mass quantity of churches in our world today that have dominion over the pastor in…1) What he may or may not teach and preach. 2) What the standards are in the church (dress codes, programs, monetary involvement, welfare of the church building…etc.) 3) Some go as far as to govern the amount of involvement a pastor and his family can have in the church and it’s functions. God forbid we should ever stoop that low to ever become a church like these mentioned here!
- I personally am appalled at the minds in this world that permit a woman to preach. Where in the world does this come from? Satan.
- The Truth abides in God’s word…
- When Christ started the first Fundamental Bible Baptist Church he started it with a man (Paul) and any church referenced in the Bible has a man as pastor and teacher. I Timothy 1:12… “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.”
- Moses was a minister of the Tabernacle. (Lev.10:3-11)
- Aaron, his sons, and his father’s house (Notice all are men) Num 18:1) And the LORD said unto Aaron, Thou and thy sons and thy father’s house with thee shall bear the iniquity of the sanctuary: and thou and thy sons with thee shall bear the iniquity of your priesthood. 2) And thy brethren also of the tribe of Levi, the tribe of thy father, bring thou with thee, that they may be joined unto thee, and minister unto thee: but thou and thy sons with thee shall minister before the tabernacle of witness.
- Did anyone ever stop to think that all of Jesus’ 12 disciples were men! (10:5-15)
- I am shocked at gay people who think they can be pastors.
B) Abiding In Their Fields
- Back in our text… Luke 2:8…we seen the shepherds… “Abiding in the field”.
- There are a huge amount of shepherds today who are “busybodies”…
– Trying to tend another shepherd’s sheep. (Trying to counsel with another pastor’s members, or relaying to them what they should do in their lives.)
– Worrying about what other shepherds are doing to or for their flock. (What Bible’s they preach from, what programs they install in their church, styles of music they are using, or what time they meet…etc.)
– Looking for the greener grass. (Some pastors are not happy to just stay home and preach but find it more exciting to stay on the road and preach at other churches more than they do in their own.) OR (They are not satisfied with their own “faithful few” and are always looking for a bigger flock to tend to.
- Too many shepherds today are lead by the sheep, not God.
C) Shepherds That Are Still Afraid
- There are a large number of pastors that are afraid…
- … of what members will do if they don’t give in once and a while to their personal desires or what other churches are doing to increase in numbers.
- Afraid to rub their sheep’s wool the wrong way.
- Afraid of what some other shepherd may say or do if he doesn’t conform to the majority of others.
- Afraid to tell his musicians what he allows and does not allow.
- Shepherds today are forgetting their main “duty” to the flock.
- FEED THE FLOCK… Ezek 34:1-6
- “Feeding the flock” also means… if he is not available to feed them, then he makes sure that those filling in his place are qualified to feed his sheep properly in that they do not starve or go astray while he is gone from the fold.
- I personally am thankful for all the qualified men we have in our church to fill the pulpit.
IV. The Shepherds of our Homes
A) The husband is the shepherd of the home.
- Many husbands today disobey every one of the Ten Commandments listed in Exodus 20:1-10 Shame on you if you have committed just one of the ten.
- Men today are Fornicators and adulterers, men who lack affection, men who lack self- control, men who lack leadership.
- Let us look into I Corinthians 7:1-7…
B) Many are Fornicators, Adulterers, and Coveters
- What does verse 2 say…“to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife…not another man’s wife, not a mistress, not a “girl friend” or female co-worker that just happens to be “friends”.
- Not only does Paul say it here in I Corinthians but God demanded it of his people then and now in Exodus 20:14 “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” (Having marital relationship with someone other than one’s wife or husband… such as kiss, hold hands, hug, sexual relations…anything you would do to your wife or husband to show affection is not permitted by God upon another woman or man.)
- Then Exodus 20:17 says… “Thou shalt not covet (Desire the possession of, drool over, google eye over…etc.) thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbors.”
- Acts of this type do nothing but…
- Ruin the Relationship/Friendship
- Ruin the Respect
- Ruin the Joy
- Ruin the Self Esteem
- Ruin the Relationship between Spouses and God
- What would happen if a Shepherd were to act the same way in that he would covet another’s sheep or pasture?
B) Shepherds of the home are sometimes “Unaffectionate”
- Look back now in I Corinthians 7: 3…”Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence (Kindness, goodwill, charitable act, attention):”
- Folks… there are husbands out there that are more benevolent to their children or parents more than their wives.
- There are husbands that show no affection whatsoever.
- What would happen if a shepherd were to act that way toward his sheep?
C) Shepherds of the home may be known for “Incontinency”
- Incontinence…Lack self-control.
- I Corinthians 7:5… “Defraud ye not the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency (Lack of self control).”
- Incontinency is a growing problem in the world today! Not in only men but women (However for this lesson we are focusing on men).
- Our Shepherds of the homes are faced with incontinency …
- II Timothy 3:1-7 …Note verse 3) Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
- In their Desires.
- For unnatural affections… vrs.2… “For men shall be lovers of their own selves” ; vrs.3… “Without natural affection”
- What is unnatural? Men in love with men, women in love with women, people in love with animals.
- To love the world rather than God… vrs.4… “ lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;”
- To not want to work for a living.
2. In their Morals
- Unthankful, ungrateful… 2 “…unthankful” I don’t know that this is a big issue in a lot of our adults today, but I have noticed it to be more prominent in the teens. This will rise in the later days!
- Liars (false accusers) 3 “…False accusers” As far as I am concerned there have been and always will be “Liars” and false accusers, as long as we are on this earth because Satan rules the world and is the father of all lies. Proverbs 14:5 “A faithful witness will not lie, but a false witness will utter lies.”
Pride is something that comes from Satan and usually the basis of “False accusers”. Proverbs 14:3 “In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them” but now look in vrs.7 for instructions to us… “Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.” So if we are wise… vrs.16 says this… “A wise man feareth and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident (or proud).”
- Trucebreakers II Timothy 3:3… “…Trucebreakers” Most people think this means, as a rule, “only in war”. Not so! There are trucebreakers in… 1) Marriages, 2) Friendships, 3) Business partnerships, and 4) Churches (I believe this is “Gossipers”)
- Unholy II Timothy 3:2b “…Unholy” once again, this is something that always has been and always will be, in men. We can never be as Holy as God! But God tells us in I Peter 1:16… “Be ye holy for I am holy” God knows our hearts and minds and therefore knows whether or not we are really trying to… Be Holy.
- Covetous II Timothy 3:2 “…Covetous”(To desire something that someone else has) This is another part of immorality and also another law of God that is mentioned in Exodus 20:17 “Thou shalt not covet…”!
- Boasters, Prideful II Timothy 3:2 “…boasters, proud” also note 11:2 “When pride cometh, then cometh shame” and I John 2:15 “Love not the world, nether the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the father is not in him. 16) For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the father, but is of the world.”
- Look like a Christian yet act like the world
3. In their Leadership (of the family)
- Shepherds of the home fail to say… As for me and my house, We will serve the Lord.” There are many sons and daughters out in the world today that are worthless to God and his purpose in their life because of… “No leadership”.
- No one to tell them… 1) How to serve the Lord, 2) how to pray, 3) how to walk with the Lord, 4) how to raise their family 5) the difference between moral and immoral 6) The difference between right and wrong.
4. In their Expenditures
- This is a big part of “Incontinency” Many Shepherds of the homes today lack in showing their sheep (children) God gets the first of their earnings and everything they receive. They lack in showing them how to spend their money “wisely”.
IV. The Great Shepherd (Our example)
- Do you want to be the best shepherd of a country, a church, your home… Follow Him… the best example ever…
- Quit feeding yourself all the time and… FEED THE FLOCK! Ezekiel 34:1) And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2) Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? We betray our trust if we do not…feed the flock. 3) Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed.
- We are not taking care of the welfare and needs of those under our supervision, and those that are without (poor). but ye feed not the flock. 4) The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick Those that may be needing attention, or our knowledge of God, or our sympathy, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, Are we at all trying to heal those sheep that may have gone astray due to something we may have done?
- Feed the flock.
- Feed them Spiritually the true word of God
- Feed them “The Ten Commandments”
- Feed them Morally (distinguishing right from wrong, dating, sex after marriage not safe sex)
- Feed them Physically (Eating properly, taking care of the temple we own)
2. Taking care of the needs
- Clothing, dietary, make-up, cars, spirituality, and emotional
3. Giving Attention to the sheep
- Many times people just need us to listen, and be there for them.
4. Share the knowledge of God
- That’s why it is important for us to “know” The Bible”
5. Healing those who have gone astray.
- We can rest assured that the “Great Shepherd will never leave nor forsake us” no matter where we go or what we do. If we don’t Satan will devour them!
- This is the best of all examples… in that “God sent his only begotten son to seek and to save that which was lost…” neither have ye sought that which was lost; Shame on us for not witnessing !
- God has never, and never will force himself upon us, or rule us with cruelty. but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. 5) And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. 6) My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them.
- Christ will never leave nor forsake us. When we wander far from him… He seeks us out, protects us from harm, and guides us to the fold again.
- When the Lord promises to do something… you can mark it down, chisel it in stone, take it to the bank, it’ll come about! 7) Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; 8) As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; 9) Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; 10) Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them. 11) For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. 12) a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. Mathew Henry sums this verse up by saying this… God will both incline their hearts to come by His grace and will by his providence open a door for them and remove every difficulty that lies in the way. (This promise is for those that are doing his will)
- 13) And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14) I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. 15) I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD. 16) I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.
Aren’t you glad that God is on our side after we are saved!
F) How about it Shepherds!
- Are we abiding in our fields or wandering about?
- Are we still afraid
- Are we leading our sheep in the direction God wants them to go?
- Are we feeding the flock?
- Are we protecting the flock?
- Are we glorifying God in all we do?
- Are we seeking that which was lost?
EXAMINE OURSELVES SHEPHERDS… ARE WE LIKE THE GREAT SHEPHERD